Revolution is a messy, dangerous business and THE WAKING LAND doesn’t pull punches to depict it. After her father’s failed uprising, Elanna Valtai was taken from her home and placed as a ward within King Erylais’ household. Over 11 years, she learned to hate her homeland and its culture. When another revolution rises Elanna must become a figurehead and unite Caeris, a country that she doesn’t fully love or understand.
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THE SUFFERING TREE has themes teens will identify with but the plot holes and writing style overwhelm and distract from the overall novel. Tori Burns and her family move to Chaptico when they are bequeathed a house and plot of land in a will. After her father’s death, Tori is depressed and angry. She’s a cutter who already feels like she doesn’t fit in, and living in the close-knit town just isolates her further.
In THE HUSH, there’s music and there’s Music. One is magical, there other isn’t. Untrained Musicians (capital M) are considered blasphemers. They are hunted down and executed since the only people that should harness the Song are Songshapers. So much of THE HUSH is balanced on the world-building. If you’re not completely enthralled then the ending of the novel loses its impact.
Clones can be an overdone concept in sci-fi but MORE OF ME offers a fresh perspective with its teenage protagonist. Teva is sixteen years old and the sixteenth Teva in her family. On each birthday, her body splits and a new Teva emerges. This new Teva gets to go to school, see friends, lives a life, but the other Teva’s are stuck at home, in hiding.
MARK OF TRUTH hits every expected beat in an urban fantasy/paranormal romance. There’s the loyal teammates, the hunky love interest that she kinda hates, the adopted pets, the adopted child. The world of MARK OF TRUTH is expansive (sometimes to its detriment) and features several rival fae factions.
It’s hard to work up an appetite when sandwiches just want you to love them, cookies taste like anger, and your mom’s food tastes hollow. In THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE, Rose Edelstein would have had a very normal, very dull life if it wasn’t for one thing: she can taste emotion in food. She first notices this power when tasting her mother’s lemon cake, realizing how dissatisfied her mother felt about their family. From then on, Rose has a constant battle with food, preferring mass-produced, machine-made food over handmade meals.
It takes far too long for CITY OF GHOSTS to get started. Plot and character development is pushed to the second half of the novel, leaving the first half aimless. The revealed backstories aren’t enough to humanize characters who have spent the entirety of the novel telling us how women are just the worst.
In CITY OF MIRACLES everyone reaps what they sow. Taking place 20 years after the events of the first novel, CITY OF MIRACLES explores what happens when revolutions end, after important figures have gained and ceded power. The world continues, as it must. Characters age, characters die, but Sigrud je Harkvaldsson has been the only constant.
It’s rare for fantasy books to have a lived-in setting. Instead of existing just to explain backstory to the protagonist, DREAM EATER’s side characters don’t care if Koi Pierce is confused and uncomfortable. DREAM EATER also doesn’t waste time trying to make you like Koi Pierce. You like her or you don’t.
GAUNTLET is all about seeking a balance — in life and in virtual reality. After exposing the corruption within the Virtual Gaming League, Kali Ling has a placed a target on her back. It turns out that owning a team is expensive, demanding, and a lot more responsibility than expected.